White & Case has added patent litigator Peter Armenio, a Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner focused on the red hot life sciences sector, to its global intellectual property practice in New York.
Armenio was co-chair of Quinn Emanuel’s global life sciences practice. The new White & Case hire, who also had been a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, told Bloomberg Law that he has worked with clients to develop and protect their patents. He’s represented companies on matters involving pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices, and DNA diagnostic and sequencing technologies.
Life sciences, a broad sector that encompasses companies from tiny biotech startups to Big Pharma, has seen a major uptick in deal activity following the global coronavirus pandemic. Law firms have staffed up in response, hiring a slew of transactional attorneys who specialize in representing these clients and investors who look to do business with them.
They’ve also built up their ranks on the IP litigation side of life sciences practices, hiring lawyers with experience developing and protecting patents for new drugs and devices that are often highly prized.
“I’ve worked on IP issues with startups, where their IP is their core asset, and protecting that is the only way they can grow,” said Armenio. “The development of life sciences takes years so while litigation is a large part of what I do, I also provide counseling and strategy.”
Among his clients have been Pfizer, Inc. in a cancer patent infringement dispute where settlement was reached in February 2019 on the eve of a trial. He was also the lead counsel for Allegan U.S., Inc. in a patent infringement case involving its Linzess product for gastrointestinal disorders.
“We’re experiencing a surge of patent litigation mandates in the life sciences sector,” said Anita Varma, White & Case’s global head of intellectual property, in a statement. “With the addition of Peter’s market-leading experience, we are further uniquely positioned to guide clients through all aspects of patent litigation and disputes in the pharma, biotech, and medical device sectors of the life sciences industry.”
Other large firms making big moves at the intersection of life sciences and IP include Cooley, which took a six member team of lawyers and technical specialists in Boston from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in May. Barnes & Thornburg said in June it would open an office in that city with six partners, including some poached from Boston firm Nutter McClennen & Fish to boost its work in the area.
Crowell & Moring last month also acquired IP and life sciences talent through its tie-up with Brinks Gilson & Lione in Chicago, the largest combination in the Washington-founded firm’s history.